How to Make Your Own Play Dough (Using Things You Already Have at Home)

Play dough is a foolproof way to entertain your kids—until you realize you left the lid cracked open and the store-bought stuff has dried up. Don’t worry, you don’t need it anyway. Turns out, it’s ridiculously easy to make your own. Our friends at Union Square Play, led by Chelsea Milkman of @The_Dough_Project, will show you exactly how to make homemade play dough in the video above.

Milkman, a former preschool teacher, incorporates songs into her demo, making the entire process a fun, sensory activity for the whole fam. (Fair warning: You may find yourself doing the dishes or taking a shower and humming “The water in the dough goes splash, splash, splash…”)

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • 1¼ cups flour
  • ⅓ cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Food coloring or turmeric and matcha powder to color the dough (optional)

How to Make Homemade Play Dough:

  1. Combine the flour, salt and cream of tartar in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Mix in the water, really whipping it until you’ve broken up any large clumps. Add the oil, stirring until the dough is glossy.
  3. Pour small amounts of dough onto a nonstick pan over medium heat, letting the dough cook until it’s no longer glossy and has darkened slightly. Flip the dough “pancake” and let it cook for about 5 seconds before removing it to a plate to cool.
  4. Add a couple drops of food coloring to each dough pancake, then twist and mold it to work in the color. Play away!

Now that your homemade play dough is ready, take playtime to the next level with a DIY treats party. Make “cookies” for a pretend tea party, swirl a few colors for rainbow “cupcakes” topped with crayon “candles” or mix purple and brown play dough to make scoops of faux chocolate ice cream. For even more fun ideas, visit

candace davison bio

VP of editorial, recipe developer, cookbook author

Candace Davison oversees PureWow's food and home content, as well as its franchises, like the PureWow100 review series and the Happy Kid Awards. She’s covered all things lifestyle...